It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and the Rātana movement.
One of the problems with the recycled racism campaign launched last week by Don Brash is that the pressure goes on for a Māori response.
The nationwide swimmable rivers tour went west this week to the Taranaki community of Waitara. Waitara was once a densely populated food gathering area with magnificent coastal reefs of kaimoana and a stony-bottomed tidal river full of fish.
On Wednesday night my Members’ Bill to stop the Public Works Act taking any more Māori land was voted down by the National Government. This is not the end of the campaign to raise awareness that the Public Works Act can still take Māori land.
The Ruamahānga is a beautiful river, much loved by those who live near it. But it faces many pressures. South of Masterton, the river is affected by sewage issues and land use intensification that have reduced water clarity and made the river unsafe for swimming, particularly at The Cliffs, a scenic spot near a vineyard straight out of a tourist brochure. Unfortunately, the water has a D rating. You risk getting a nasty bug if you put your head under.
On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one point Taranaki maunga emerged in snowy splendour to urge us on. We had some excellent conversations about peace and justice based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi.